Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Catalyst, yeah, That's What I Am, a Catalyst

Recently, I received a particular comment after the posting I wrote about the sparing of the oak tree here in town by the board of Selectmen. The comment was favorable, and I truly appreciate that, but it went to suggest I research more into other issues brought before the Board of Selectmen. Seems that some issued are handled differently depending upon who brings up the issue. A "government of the few" was one phrase the commenter used.

Well, I agree with that. Every town, city and village is that way to some extent. It's called cronyism. A small minority with connections seem to make a lot more headway than others. But, let me explain just what my purpose is here.

I'm a catalyst. As it states in the header to this Blog, I am "Thinking Out Loud". My thoughts, and ramblings are posted here for two reasons: 1) to get them out of me head, and 2) to inspire thought, conversation, and debate that will, hopefully, lead to action, or just more thoughts. There are those out there that are brighter, sharper, with more connections and experience than me that can take what transpires here and run with it if they so choose.

When I write, I write in response to something I have personally experienced, or read. Something that has come to me in a natural way. I will leave the town government issues to the government officials, but I will be watching. I will watch how the town responds to our environment, the good and the bad, and I will comment.

No, my job is not to seek out issues that have been around for years. That would be investigative reporting, and that's not me. The issues are there, and the only way they can be changed is when the change is led from persons within, then the rest of us can follow. But we must make others aware. Not just making others aware of town government issues, but other things that affect the town, the good, and not so good. Remember, this space is not a space for my rantings, and ravings. It is more of a space for the sharing of my thoughts. I hope they fall on the eyes of those that can act. So, pass the postings you read here onto another person. I want this Blog to generate some more thought, and more importantly, change.

For those that did not read the comment I
referred to above, I have included it below. It is well written, and written by someone that obviously cares about our town, but is enormously frustrated by what he sees.

"I so do respect your approach to this but wonder if perhaps you missed the controversies surrounding the Zoning Study Sub-committee and the Housing Partnership Committee.

Both were similar in concept but were handled completely differently (for the world to see), because one involved an individual politically alignd with the B.O.S. and one did not.

I sincerely respect and admire your approach to issues and commend you for your objectivity, but I must say that I believe a more detailed study of issues brought before the B.O.S. and the positions they take on each and every one might suggest that it is not so much what the issue is that is brought before them, or how it is brought before them, but rather who is bringing it before them.

Research the Accessory Dwelling Unit Bylaw proposal, the Planning Board's position on quorum memberships on committees, the Housing Partnership Committee controversery, the controversy surrounding appointments to the Economic Developomnt Committee, the B.O.S. position on televising of Conservation Commission meetings, the Wastewater Treatment expansion, etc and juxtapose that with the postions of a small but vocal group in Town and one might come to a determination that this is a government of the few.

This concerns this veteran greatly for it demonstrates a government of the few, which is completely contrary to the desires of our founding fathers."


  1. Dear Catalyst: We all know there are sides to every issue. Whether all sides are considered is what's important.

    "Cronyism" may be alive and well in Sturbridge; my experience is that all towns have people in them who jockey for their issues, political hangers-on who may be appointed not because of their qualifications - it's worse in some other towns.

    But at the same time, it's interesting to note that those that throw stones at some cronies, now are cronies themselves.

    Objectivity is out the window it seems. In reading the local newspapers, the new way of doing business is to slam your neighbor, your peer or colleague, get the first and last words in, and worst of all, create devisiveness.

    To me, doing business this way is akin to throwing a bunch of glass marbles up in the air and trying to catch them all on the way down: some will slip through your fingers before they even leave your hands; you'll drop some; some will reach way up in the sky, and on their way back down, you'll try to catch them all but the ones that you miss will shatter on the ground.

    It's a new year. It would be great if everyone would take a deep breath and start the new year off right.

  2. I like what you wrote. I like it a lot. I am glad there are other folks out there that think this way. One way to lessen the cronyism, and all the stuff that goes with it, is to bring it to light. When it happens, don't talk about it at the coffee shop, or at the local gym, write about it, and post it on line. Once it is out there, and folks realize they are not only observed, but written about they will be more careful, and think twice. Unlike a newspaper that reports the news, a blog can post the news and opinions. Opinions can't be challenged, only contrary opinions offered. And, if done responsibly, and without malice, it will be an excellent tool. Accountability. That will be be one of the catch phrases for the new year. We need to make everyone accountable for their actions and words. And, wee all need to take a deep breath, I agree.


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